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Kovalchuk notches hat trick for Russia

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils

A dominant Ilya Kovalchuk has Russia off to a 2-0 start at the 2013 IIHF World Championship in Helsinki.

Kovalchuk posted a hat trick in a 4-1 win over Germany on Sunday and leads the tournament with four goals. He's tied for the points lead (5) with Petri Kontiola of Finland.

Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist in Russia's preliminary round opening 6-0 victory over Latvia on Saturday. Devils teammate Andrei Loktionov registered an assist.

Kovalchuk has picked up where he left off to end the year with the Devils. After missing 11 games with a shoulder injury, he returned to pick up a goal and three helpers in the final five games of the regular season.

Next up for Russia is Tuesday's meeting with Team USA. The U.S., featuring Devils forwards Ryan Carter and Stephen Gionta, is also 2-0 after topping Latvia, 4-1, on Sunday.

Russia is looking to defend its 2012 world championship gold medal with its fourth crown in the last six years.

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